Sun Protection: The Complete Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe
When summertime rolls around, your attention turns to lake days, pool parties, hiking trips, and so much more! To stay safe during all of those activities, you’ll also need to think about sun protection.
What does staying safe in the sun involve? A lot more than just slapping on any old sunscreen when you hit the beach. Staying safe doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy summer days; it just means you have to be smart about it.
In this article, we’ll tell you why sun protection is so important and list seven good ways to armor up! Here’s all the information you need to know.
Why You Need Sun Protection
There are three main reasons you need to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun: sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer.
At one time or another, almost everyone has experienced a sunburn after too much time in the sun. Red, uncomfortable, peeling skin isn’t fun!
One reason sun protection is important is simply that it prevents sunburn. But, even if you don’t burn easily, spending unprotected time basking in the sun can damage your skin.
Premature Skin Aging
Sunburn is a short-term consequence of too much sun. Premature skin aging is one of the long-term consequences.
The ultraviolet rays from the sun damage fibers in your skin called collagen and elastin. These fibers are responsible for keeping your skin full, tight, and youthful-looking.
Too much unprotected time in the sun year after year damages collagen and elastin and results in premature aging — wrinkles, fine lines, and the like.
In addition to premature wrinkles, another negative long-term side effect of sun damage is skin discoloration (think: sunspots).
By far, the biggest concern about too much sun exposure and severe sunburn is that it leaves you at a higher risk for certain types of skin cancers.
Why is that? Simply put, when your skin absorbs the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, they can damage the genetic material in your skin cells.
Unfortunately, every time you expose your skin to the sun without sun protection, these harmful rays continue to damage your skin cells, and this increases your chances of developing skin cancer.
Sometimes we only take sun protection seriously when we get older and learn about how increased sun exposure may cause premature skin aging. But we should take it seriously as early as possible!
That’s because a study by the American Association for Cancer Research found a link between melanoma skin cancer and sunburns that occurred earlier in life.
More specifically, young women who experienced extreme sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 were more likely to develop the cancer later on in life.
Sun protection isn’t an option but a necessity!
However, taking measures to lower your risk for skin cancer doesn’t mean you have to swear off going outside. But you should always take the sun seriously and protect yourself (and your family!) properly.
Let’s get straight to how you can do that.
8 Sun Protection Methods For Your Family
So, what does good sun protection consist of? As we mentioned, it’s much more than using sunscreen when you’re at the beach.
Here, we’ll give you eight ways to protect yourself and your family from the sun while enjoying it at the same time!
1) Wear Sunscreen
This one is probably a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating because it’s so essential to staying safe in the sun: wear sunscreen!
If you’re going to be outside, this is a basic step to staying safe. But not any old sunscreen will do. You want to choose one that is both safe and effective.
The sunscreen you wear doesn’t disappear into thin air — it can soak into your skin (and your bloodstream) and wash off into the ocean.
That’s why safe sunscreen matters! It should be good for your skin, your body, and the environment.
One ingredient (oxybenzone) commonly used in chemical sunscreen is not safe for you or the coral reefs. When it’s absorbed into your body, it can pass through the placental barrier, wind up in breastmilk, and cause hormone disruption in both women and men.
And when oxybenzone washes off in the ocean, it bleaches the coral reefs!
For the safest sunscreen, opt for a mineral formula made with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, like Babo Botanicals’s Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30. Non-nano zinc oxide won’t mess with your body or bleach the coral reefs!
In addition, our hypoallergenic sunscreen is full of skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera and organic oils.
What About The Little Ones?
As for the littlest ones in your family, keep them safe with Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen Pump Spray. It’s fragrance-free and formulated for your baby’s delicate skin.
If your child is under six months of age, it’s best that they avoid the sun altogether. That’s because their skin is still very sensitive at this stage.
For children over six months, in addition to using mineral sunscreen, try to keep their time in the sun limited.
As explained above, the younger you experience a severe sunburn, the more at risk you are for developing some skin cancers.
And remember that just because they are indoors, it doesn’t mean your children are safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Your car’s windows or the windows in your home can also let the sun in. Glass does a decent job of blocking out UVB rays but not UVA rays.
You can pretty easily apply UV-protective window film on your car’s windows. But that might be a little challenging in your house, especially if you have big windows in some rooms.
If this is the case, you can choose to treat only the windows that get the most sun during the day with UV-protective film or just ensure that you keep your kids away from the windows during the brightest times of the day.
If your sunscreen is safe for you and the ocean but doesn’t actually protect you from the sun, it’s not much good! You need a sunscreen that’s both safe and effective at protecting you from UVA and UVB rays.
Look for “broad-spectrum” on your sunscreen bottle. That means it will block both UVA and UVB rays. When it comes to broad-spectrum mineral sunblock, zinc oxide provides full protection.
Did you know that sunscreen expires? It’s true. No matter what sunscreen you choose, don’t use it if it’s past its prime. It might not effectively protect you from the sun, and it can contain bacteria.
How do you know if your sunscreen is expired? Some bottles have an expiration date, making it easy peasy! If there’s no expiration date, try to remember when you bought it. It’s OK to use it for three years after that.
Finally, if there’s no expiration date and you have no clue when you bought it, go by its look and smell.
When expired, mineral sunscreen will separate and become grainy and runny. Chemical sunscreen might change in texture, become a bit yellow, or smell odd.
Safely Storing Your Sunscreen
When you’re having fun in the sun, it can be easy to forget about keeping your sunscreen in good condition, but doing so is important to ensure that it continues to work for you and your family.
Store your sunscreen correctly by keeping it away from direct sun exposure.
How can you do this while outside? Consider keeping your sunscreen in the shade or wrapped in a towel.
Even better, stash it in the cooler if you have one with you, especially if you’re planning to be outside for a while.
2) Reapply Frequently
Even the best sunscreen won’t offer enough protection if you don’t apply it often enough! Whether you’re using mineral or chemical sunscreen, reapply every couple of hours — more often if you’re in and out of the water.
One extra tip from the pros: don’t skimp on sunscreen! For the best protection, apply liberally.
3) Avoid Peak Hours
The third way to protect yourself from the sun is to avoid peak hours.
We’re not saying you can’t have any fun outside on a sunny day! Simply plan for inside activities (lunch, anyone?) around peak sun hours, which is usually somewhere between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
One way to find out when to avoid being in the sun is to check the UV index. If you’re not familiar with this international scale, it runs from zero to 11+.
The higher the UV index number the stronger the sun — and the higher your chance of sunburn and sun damage! You can find the UV index on your local weather report.
4) Seek Shade
It might seem obvious, but shade is your friend on the sunniest of days! A beach umbrella or the shade of a big tree will provide your skin with a break from the sun.
Protecting yourself from the sun in this way is especially important if you are outside during peak hours.
That being said, while enjoying some time outside in the shade, it’s important to remember that not all shade can protect you from the sun.
This might seem odd because, if you’re in the shade and avoiding sun exposure, surely there’s nothing to be concerned about?
Well, not quite.
You can still receive a lot of sun exposure that can be harmful to your skin while in the shade. That’s because UVB rays can indirectly reach your skin by bouncing back on reflective surfaces like sand, water, or concrete.
For complete protection while in the shade, aim for deep shade protection (e.g. a gazebo) where no UVB rays can penetrate.
5) Wear Protective Clothing
Sunscreen is not the only thing you should put on when you head outside for fun in the sun. Protective clothing is another must, especially if you’ll be outside for a long time or in the middle of the day!
Sunglasses will protect your eyes, and a wide-brimmed hat will provide shade for your face and ears.
For more full-body protection, wear short-sleeved shirts to cover your shoulders, long sleeves for even more protection, and a breezy skirt to cover your legs but also keep you cool.
6) Apply Face Sunscreen Every Day
Sun damage doesn’t happen only in the summer or with a sunburn. It can be the cumulative effect of sun exposure day after day.
This is why wearing sunscreen every day is an essential part of sun protection! Even if you’re not planning on spending much time outdoors, show your face some TLC with a daily sunblock.
The same rules apply to face sunscreen: find one that’s gentle on your skin, safe for your body, and good for the earth. Go with a mineral sunscreen like Daily Sheer Tinted Facial Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30.
This ultra-sheer, lightweight, clean, and non-greasy sunscreen is made with kahai, sea buckthorn, and argan oil and enriched with anti-aging hyaluronic acid! It adds luminosity to your skin while also being gentle and soothing for even the most sensitive skin.
7) Don’t Forget Your Lips
Sun protection should be for your whole body. That includes your lips! Protect them from the sun with lipstick or chapstick that has SPF.
8) Remember That Tanning Beds Are Not Your Friend
We know that this one on our list may be a tough pill to swallow for some of our readers. But we have to keep it real with you, right?
Tanning beds have become very popular over the past several years. At first glance, it all seems safe — you get a great tan (most of the time), and you don’t have to do it while in the sun. Where’s the harm in that?
Unfortunately, indoor tanning can increase your chances of getting cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation highlights that “tanning damages your skin cells and speeds up visible signs of aging. Worst of all, tanning can lead to skin cancer.”
In addition, if you use a tanning bed before you’re 35 years old, you increase your risk of developing life-threatening melanoma by 75 percent.
To stay safe, avoid tanning beds altogether. The risk for your skin and your overall health is just not worth it.
FAQ’s About Sun Protection
1) How Can I Get Enough Vitamin D While Protecting My Skin?
Vitamin D helps us regulate the calcium and phosphate in our bodies. These essential nutrients help to keep our bones, muscles, and teeth strong and healthy.
A lack of Vitamin D can not only affect these nutrients but also put you at risk for other health problems such as cancer, cognitive impairment in older adults, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and severe asthma in kids.
As you may already know, the sun is our best source of this important vitamin. So, if you limit your exposure to the sun and also put on sunscreen, how can you make sure you’re still getting enough Vitamin D?
If you’re Vitamin D deficient, the first thing you’ll need to do is consult with your physician to know what your best options are.
Besides the sun, you can also get vitamin D from multiple food sources, like fish liver oils, fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products.
In addition, you can get this vitamin as a supplement.
2) I Just Got Sunburned. What Do I Do?
So, you were having a lot of fun in the sun, but unfortunately, you also caught a little too much sun in the process. What can you do?
If you got sunburned, your body temperature might be very high from the sun’s heat. Taking a cool bath or shower can help cool your skin and body down.
Remember to be gentle on your already sensitive skin right now. Use gentle products, like our After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Gel. This gel is specifically formulated to provide you with optimal hydration after sun exposure.
Research has shown that aloe vera helps with sunburns by adding moisture to the skin and reducing the peeling that usually comes with sun-damaged skin.
This gel also contains green tea, eucalyptus, and witch hazel. All of these ingredients will help to cool your skin down and keep it refreshed.
Drinking lots of water is also an essential part of getting better. This will help to prevent dehydration, which can be common with sunburn.
Lastly, avoid sun exposure for a while. If you love the outdoors, this might be challenging. However, remember that the more you expose your already sensitive skin to the sun the longer it will take for you to recover fully.
So, do yourself a favor and avoid the outside for a while, just until you are fully recovered!
3) How Do I Make Sure My Child Is Protected From The Sun At All Times?
If you’re like most parents, you won’t be with your child or children at all times. For instance, your children might stay with a nanny or go to school during the day.
In these situations, it can be challenging to make sure that your little one is always protected. So, what can you do?
If your kids are at home with a nanny, you can educate their nanny. Remember that knowledge is power!
Don’t just assume that caregivers understand everything about sun protection, especially when it comes to children. Use this article as a reference to help them understand the dangers of UV rays. This will help them learn how to keep your children safe while in their care.
If your kids are going to school, you can ask the teacher about how they keep the kids safe in the sun. Since they’re used to caring for lots of kids, they may already be knowledgeable about the tips shared in this article.
You can also stick our Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 in your child’s bag and ask their teacher to apply the sunscreen on them as needed.
Sun-Safe Summer Fun!
No matter what adventure your family is on this summer, sun protection is the name of the game!
With a little planning ahead, the right clothes, and the right sunscreen, you and your family will be able to enjoy the sunshine with no worries.
Keep safe, effective sunscreen on hand at all times: Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 for you and your kids and Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen Pump Spray for the tiny ones. A fun and sun-safe summer is right around the corner!